A Secular Understanding Of Evil

Terry Eagleton reflects on the meaning of evil without bringing God into the equation. He later compares psychology and theology:

The modern age has witnessed what one might call a transition from the soul to the psyche. Or, if one prefers, from theology to psychoanalysis. There are many senses in which the latter is a stand-in for the former. Both are narratives of human desire - though for religious faith that desire can finally be consummated in the kingdom of God, whereas for psychoanalysis it must remain tragically unappeased. In this sense, psychoanalysis is the ­science of human discontent. But so, too, is theology. With Freud, repression and neurosis play the role of what Christians have traditionally known as original sin. In each case, human beings are seen as born in sickness. But they are thereby not beyond redemption. Happiness is not beyond our grasp; it is just that it requires of us a traumatic breaking down and remaking, for which the Christian term is conversion. Both sets of belief investigate phenomena which finally outstrip the bounds of human knowledge, whether you call this the enigmatic unconscious or an unfathomable God.